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How To Play Blackjack

Kirk Miller
21 April 2022 |
Updated: 21 April 2022

Online blackjack is one of the most popular card games, and in this guide, we will discuss how to play, the rules, and strategies to help increase the chances of winning.

Typically, blackjack is played with one or more standard decks of 52 cards. It is crucial to remember that the number of decks is an important factor determining the overall pay-out. Ideally, the more the decks, the higher the house edge. Thus, it is always advisable to start with one deck as a beginner.

Before we dive into the details of playing, we must mention the game’s objective. Ideally, the main aim when playing online blackjack is to beat the dealer. It is attainable if:

  • Players draw a hand value higher than the dealer’s
  • Players draw a hand value of 21 on their first two cards, and the dealer does not
  • If the dealer’s hand goes over 21

Basic blackjack strategies

When playing a hand, players have five options. Hit, stand, double down, split, and surrender.

Hit

With this option, players will be requesting an additional card. It is applicable when cards don’t total 21. Players can repeat this option until they decide to stand, or if the value goes past 21, in which case they will have ‘bust’.

Stand

This means that players believe they have enough to beat the dealer, and they don’t wish to take any additional cards.

Double down

This option is recommendable mainly when players believe they have a higher chance of winning. In this case, they will place an additional bet (doubling the size of their original bet) and will be dealt one more card with no option to stand or hit on their original hand.

Split

If a player lands two cards with the same rank, they have the option to split them. It gives them a chance to place an additional bet and play two hands.

Surrender

If players have reasons to believe that they don’t stand a chance to win, they can surrender. In this case, they will not play their hand and will forfeit half their bet.

Popular Blackjack strategies

  • When to hit – Always hit on 8 through 13. Don’t hit if the hand value is over 16
  • When to stand – Always stand on 17 and over
  • When to double down – Always double down on 11. If you have 10 points, double down when the dealer shows 2 and 9
  • When to split – Always split 8 and Aces. However, never split 10s, 5s, and 4s
  • When to surrender – If the dealer has a 9 through Ace, then surrender on 16

Never take insurance (a special bet offered if the dealer’s up-card is an ace). An insurance bet has a 3% house advantage and only pays off when the dealer has a 10-point card which only happens 30% of the time.

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